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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An argument (theological, actually) against Intelligent Design

keiths has recently posted an article challenging Intelligent Design. In particular it challenges the idea that the similarities between organisms are not the result of evolution by natural selection, and common descent, but due to the use of a common design, or pattern, for several organisms, by a Designer.

keiths's challenge is basically this: Why should a Designer have been limited only to designs that mimic exactly the sorts of results we would expect if similarity were due to evolution from common ancestor(s) by natural selection? In other words, why should a Designer be a mimic of evolution, when there must have been many other ways to Design living things?

This is, at least in part, a theological argument, although keiths doesn't say so. (I have no knowledge of his personal beliefs, except that he is clearly not a fan of Intelligent Design or Young-Earth Creationism.) Why should God (assuming God to be the Designer, which most proponents of Intelligent Design do) have been constrained in this way, and, also, why should God have mimicked the results expected from common descent through natural selection? Why would God have done this, when doing so presented abundant evidence for descent from common ancestor(s) by natural selection, if such common descent didn't actually occur?

Good questions, I believe.

Thanks for reading. Read keiths's post, if you wish.


atlibertytosay said...

I recently debated with a friend just the opposite …

I personally believe God does this.

Only the fittest souls among us receive the grace of salvation.

What is a fit soul?

• One that believes in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

If I stretch the argument a bit …

Survival of the fittest is the "design of evolution".

Not all Intelligent Design "thinkers" claim evolution is untrue, nor do Young Earth creationists so I think "keiths'" argument is flawed in that regard.

I consider myself a creationist and part of the intelligent design camp. I also believe in some parts of evolution.

I do not consider evolution to be a "limiting factor" of an all powerful God.

I look at evolution as the breath of life. God's mere touch, breath, possibly even thought - brings forth glorious life. I consider God's interaction to be something kin to "The Genesis Project" in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Kahn.

Evolution to me seems like a natural/flowing extension of the breath of life. And, following the command of God to grow abundantly and multiply.

God's creation is diverse. Evolution is one explanation for diversity.

What other explanations are there? What other explanations would make God more powerful?

While he certainly could have winked or wiggled his nose, I'd like to think that God's touch is more powerful than mere sudden appearance.

Life is only life because it is unique. No two living things have EVER been exactly alike and moved within the exact same space, at the exact same time with exact same experiences and environment.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for your thoughts, atlibertytosay.

The first step in arguing a controversial subject is to define it, and I'm not sure what you mean by "evolution." (I didn't define it in my post, either, nor did I use that word in this post.) However, as I think most people define it, namely something like "living things have arisen from one or a very few common ancestors, by natural selection, over a long period of time," I have never read or heard a Young Earth Creationist who believed in evolution.

The last two questions in the post, my paraphrase of keiths, remain important, and I have not seen a good answer for them.

Philip Smith said...

The Creation Museum which goes into great display and detail of the 7 days of creation as 7 literal days and about 7000 years on this planet (which I believe is the definition of Young Earth Creationism) … has many many examples of evolution and how it fits into Young Earth Creation.

Two examples are given that I can remember … Dogs and Horses.

I do know that Dog variety has only occurred in the last 1500 years. They use this variaton to show simple evolution.

Martin LaBar said...

You are right. I'm sure that that is true. That type of change should probably be called microevolution, or something like that, and I didn't define what I was talking about, and should have.

Young Earth Creationists don't believe that changes such as the development of dog breeds (or any other kinds of evolutionary change) took place over long periods of time, defined as longer than, say, 100,000 years. Nor do they believe that, say, dogs and horses had a common ancestor. (To be clear, I don't think dog breeds evolved over a long time, either. 1500 years may be about right.

Thanks for the comment. I should have defined my terms.